This dainty butterfly is easily overlooked, partly because of its small size and
dusky colour and it is restricted to patches of grassland with Kidney Vetch,
its caterpillar foodplant.
The adult can be seen from mid-May to late June in small coloni es,
the adults rarely flying more than 40m. However, in south Wales they
have colonised coalspoil sites in the Valleys many kilometres from their
stronghold on the sand dunes, coastal cliffs and docklands. As a result it has
increased its range in Wales compared to a sharp decline in Eng land.
Kidney Vetch is a short-lived plant that requires regular disturbance to
grow. The butterfly also needs tall grasses and shelter to roost and provide
perches for the territorial males. The caterpillars only eat the flowers and
seeds of Kidney Vetch before spending the winter in crevices in the ground.
In Swansea East the Small Blue is found on sand dunes in the ma rina area.
Lack of disturbance in vicinity of current breeding sites reducing quantity of
Kidney Vetch available.
1. Regular disturbance of grasslands on sand dunes and coastal cliffs.
2. Small-scale habitat creation in vicinity of new developments throughout
Mike Hedges AM
Wales Species Champions
Contains OS data © copyright [and database] (2017)
© George Tordoff